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There are so many things I wish I knew before becoming a parent.
I have been a parent for over seven years now. In that time I have learned a lot, and looking back to before having kids I now realise all the things I didn’t know and how they may have made those early years of having a baby easier.
A lot of things go through your mind when deciding to have a baby. Among them, can you afford it, will a baby fit into your life right now, are you ready? There are a lot of things to consider before having a baby.
But there are a lot of things you don’t think about.
Becoming a parent for the first time can be overwhelming and a bit scary.
It can be hard at first to get your head around the responsibilities of being a parent and exactly what being a parent means.
There are things to talk about before having a baby and things to do before becoming a parent.
Here are things I wish I knew before having a baby
Life will be more chaotic
When you only have yourself to worry about, life is so much easier. You don’t always have to plan things in advance and try to work around things and you can leave the house in a few seconds if you have to. Life will be busy, it will be crazy and at times it will be more chaotic than you ever thought possible. And there will be times you will constantly ask yourself ‘what was I thinking’?
-But also filled with more love
There will be more hugs, more snuggles and more love than you ever thought possible.
Sleep is a luxury
Get as much of it while you still can. Both of my kids were not good sleepers and I felt like I didn’t sleep in almost six years. Sleep deprivation is real. It is hard and at times it seems like it will never end.
Everyone does things differently
Everyone does things differently in every aspect of life, so why should parenthood be any different? Do things that work for your family and suit your lifestyle. Just because it works well for someone else, doesn’t mean it will for you. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you are doing everything wrong just because it isn’t the way they do it.
Trust your instincts
You will know your child better than anyone else. Only you will know what is best. If you think something is wrong, ask for help and don’t let it get pushed to the side. It’s called mother’s instinct (or parent’s instinct) for a reason.
Life will be more of a challenge
In so many ways, things will be more difficult. Even just getting out the door every morning takes so much longer and more organisation. Things aren’t as easy when you have to worry about these other little people, and the things that used to be so easy in life, come with a new set of challenges, like taking a shower or going to the toilet in peace. It can take time getting used to it.
It is okay to ask for help
I think there is this stigma that we believe we have to do absolutely everything ourselves or we’ve somehow failed. It is easier to sit on the floor and cry in frustration than admit we need help. Being a parent is hard. Especially those first few weeks when everything is new and your life has changed and you are just getting to know each other.
My son was the worst sleeper right from the start. I remember being up all night and crying from absolute exhaustion because I couldn’t get him to sleep, and wondering what I was doing wrong. I should have asked for help. But I didn’t.
The perfect parent is a myth
We fall into the trap of thinking there is such a thing. We go about our days comparing ourselves to others because everything they do seems perfect and they don’t have any of the issues that you do. Their kids are always so well behaved, they are so organised and would never dream of doing the things you do out of desperation. Everyone has bad days and you only see a small part of their lives. You have no idea what issues they face.
So let go of the idea of being the perfect parent. It doesn’t exist. And the sooner you realise that the better.
It is worth it
It might not seem like it every single day, but being a parent is amazing. They teach you more than you realise and you see the world from a different perspective like no one else ever could.
Love the moments
I won’t tell you to love every single moment of it, because who wants to remember the frustrated crying, the sleep deprivation, the poop explosions or the time you got peed on. But remember the moments worth remembering. The times you can look back and smile, the little things that remind you every day why you love being a parent.
Because yes, it does go fast. Those nights when they cry all night and won’t sleep seem endless and like they will last forever. But the years do pass quickly, and the birthdays come and go and you wonder what happened to that tiny little baby you once had.
Remember the giggles, the laughter, those warm snuggles when they wrap their little arms around your neck and hold them a little bit longer.
Because it won’t last forever.
But no matter what you are going through, the good and the bad, chances are so many people have been in exactly the situation and know what you are going through.
Even when you feel alone and like you are doing everything wrong, stop, breathe and remember you aren’t the first to go through this, and you won’t be the last.
Parenting isn’t always easy. There are good days and there will be bad days. And some of the bad days are days when it seems just about everything goes wrong. It will get better and you can get through this.
What things did you wish you knew before having children? Do you think it would have made parenthood easier?